7/24 day 89

Woke to discover that something left me a message last night five feet from my tarp. It was a scat pile. Its message: Get out if town. I can't identify the messenger from its scat, so let me know if you recognize it. I'll have to consult Scat Tracker next time I see her.

Spent the afternoon in Old Station. Hiked 10 miles to pct mile 1382. Will tackle a 30-mile waterless stretch in the morning.

7/23 day 88

Had an unexpected guest during my lakeside dinner this afternoon. A doe came by and hung around within 10 feet of me. Hiked 20 miles to pct mile 1372.


One wonderful thing about thru-hiking the PCT is the opportunity to embrace minimalism. Because the possessions I carry during this hike are few and meaningful, I can list every one of them from memory. I want to be able to do that off the trail as well, keeping only those few, meaningful, memorable possessions. In fact, not being able to list our possessions from memory may be a measure of having too much stuff.

7/22 day 87

Hiked 17 miles to Terminal Geyser, pct mile 1352.


7/20 & 7/21 days 85 & 86

Nero and zero in Chester for resupply. Thank you, Pipers mom, who spared me from hitching attempts by giving me a ride to and from town.

Had bought some bad Heet in Sierra City that looked yellowish instead if clear and that  left a gooey resin in my cat stove, but now I have the good stuff again. Scat Tracker and Uni-Croc had the same with their Sierra City Heet. The bad Heet was sealed and not expired, so I'm not sure what the problem was.

7/19 day 84

Halfway,  baby! Second half should be easier terrain, but the weather in Washington's the wild card. Hiked within a few miles of the road to Chester, where I'll resupply.

To celebrate the halfway point, here are some names of cat hole pooping stances: the sumo, the middle linebacker, the branch hanger, and the tree hugger's tripod.

Mt. Whitney was cool, but

This mountain is #1 on my list.

7/18 day 83

Hiked 20 miles to pct mile 1315. Heard that Muk Muk was stalked by a mountain lion for hours last night. Glad she's ok. Read about it on her blog: http://mexicotocanada2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-harrowing-night-with-a-mountain-lion/ 

Mt. Lassen

7/17 day 82

Had a good time in Belden with England Jon (a.k.a Night Terror), Simon, Five Star, Scat Tracker and her boyfriend Uni-Croc, and Muk Muk. We did miss the weekend rave, though, it being a Wednesday. Hiked 19 miles to pct mile 1295. I'm now out of the Sierras and in Lassen.


7/16 day 81

Passed through Bucks Lake to have a meal and top off snacks. Learned a few new beer names: monkey knife fight, mama's little yella pills, rogue dead guy, . . . but I  wound up getting good old moose drool. Hiked 12 miles to pct mile 1276.


7/15 day 80

Been drinkin' my fill from pretty little waterfalls all day.

Hiked 18 miles to pct mile 2264.

7/14 day 79

Hiked 18 miles to pct mile 1246.

Popular brands on the PCT: packs & shelters

Hiking along the PCT 10-12 hours a day, it's hard not to notice what brands of packs and shelters other hikers are using. I thought some you might be interested to know which ones appear to be most popular.

The most popular packs appear to be ULA and Osprey, both of which sell lightweight internal frame packs. A close third is Gossamer Gear, which sells even lighter frameless packs that have a removable aluminum stay. There are also a fair number of Six Moon Designs (SMD) and Zpacks packs. SMD, like Gossamer Gear, sells lighter frameless packs that have a removable aluminum stay, and Zpacks sells extremely lightweight packs made of cuben fiber. I've also seen some GoLite, Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD), and Hyperlite Moumtain Gear (HMG) packs. I was really impressed with the MLD and HMG packs, both of which had great designs and solid construction.

As for shelters, the most popular brand appears to be Big Agnes, which mostly sells freestanding tents. Other popular brands, which mostly sell non-freestanding tents and tarps that are lighter than Big Agnes tents are SMD, Zpacks, and TarpTent.

Now, I'd never recommend shopping a brand simply because it's popular. As I mentioned earlier, two of the less common packs on the trail (MLD and HMG) have piqued my interest. I can hardly wait to check them out, but I have a hike to finish first.

7/13 day 78

Followed a buttercup-yellow butterfly for about 30 paces along the trail today. (That doesn't seem very long, but I think it is in butterfly time.) It was flying at the height of my knees and only a foot in front of me the whole way. Hiked 20 miles to pct mile 1228.

7/12 day 77

According to the Red Moose Inn scale, I weigh, fully clothed, 163.3 lb. That's up 3.3 lb since weighing myself at the Carson Pass Visitor Center. It helped that I had just eaten a 1 lb burger called The Gut Buster before weighing myself. I ate a couple more before I left town. Hiked 11 miles to pct mile 1208.


Instigate playing violin pct 2013

7/11 day 76

Hiked 12 miles to Sierra City for a nero day. Showered, ate, drank, and camped at the Red Moose Inn.

7/10 day 75

Hiked 23 miles to pct mile 1186.

7/9 day 74

Walked into Soda Springs to eat and top off my food. My appetite has been ravenous. Stopped in at the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum, which just made me hungrier.

Shot video of Instigate playing violin in tunnel but couldn't upload.

Hiked 17 miles to pct mile 1163.


7/8 day 73

Walked along a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail today. Hiked 21 miles to pct mile 1146.

7/7 day 72

Hiked 21 miles to pct mile 1125. So glad to be free.of the bear can!

7/6 day 71

Hitched back.from South Lake Tahoe to Echo Lake and hiked 9.5 miles to pct mile 1104.


The 4th of July backpack

Met this guy along Echo Lake. He was kind enough to let me take this photo.


7/5 day 70

Hiked 8.5 miles to Echo Lake, where I caught a ride with Mademoiselle  to South Lake Tahoe to eat and resupply. Thanks, Lake of the Sky Outfitters, for the lemonade and place to relax. Will try hitching back to the trail midday tomorrow.

7/4 day 69

Stopped in at the Carson Pass Visitor Center, where they had a scale. I weighed myself fully clothed, shoes and all. The scale read 160 lb, which means I weigh more like 155. Yikes. Good thing the visitor center had some hummus, bread, and cheese trail magic going. And even better that an ultra-runners club invited us to their 4th of July beer and eats party in the parking.lot. Thank you, everyone!

Hiked 22 miles to pct mile 1086. Need to eat more food!

7/3 day 68

A peanut butter sandwich with poptarts instead of bread, a nutella and peanut butter tortilla with banana.chips inside, oatmeal.with cllif crunch macadamia and white.chocolate bars crushed in it . . . These are.the things I wish I.were eating.right now. Hiked 23 miles to pct.mile 1064.

7/2 day 67

Hiker hunger's tough when it.comes suddenly a few days before your.next resupply. My appetite is voracious, but I have to ration my food. Right now, I could eat all of the food I have for 3 days in one sitting. Hiked 22 miles to pct mile 1041.

7/1 day 66

Got caught in a thunderstorm on Sonora Pass. Hiked 21 miles to pct mile 1019. Just 4 more days to mailing my 2.5 pounds of bear can home!

6/30 day 65

Hiked 20 miles to pct mile 998. Just 2 miles to 1,000!

I definitely should weigh myself at the next opportunity; tonight, before falling asleep, my eyes closed, the image of a skeleton came ro mind. I had rested my hand on my chest. All I felt were ribs. I mean rib city. A little alarming, but I feel strong and healthy.

6/29 day 64

Tough day of Northern Sierra uphills and downhills. Ran into Billygoat going south. Hiked 18 miles to pct mile 978.

6/28 day 63

Topped off my food in Tuolumne Meadows. Glad I did my big resupply in Mammoth Lakes, as Tuolumne has only what amounts to a pricey convenience store.

Hiked 17 miles to pct mile 960.

Before digging into your instant mashed potatoes, no matter how good they look, make sure your mosquito head net is up.

6/27 day 62

Hiked 23 miles pct mile 943. Now in the Sierra's mosquito zone.